An invitee is a person who enters another's property with the owner's express or implied invitation. For example, this could be a situation such as a customer entering a store or a guest attending a social event at a private residence. The duty owed by a property owner to an invitee is typically one of reasonable care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition and to warn of any known dangerous conditions that are not open and obvious.
The law governing the relationship between a property owner and an invitee is typically based on state premises liability laws, which vary from state to state. However, the Restatement (Second) of Torts, which is a widely recognized legal authority, defines an invitee as "a person who is invited to enter or remain on land for a purpose directly or indirectly connected with business dealings with the possessor of the land."
The duty owed to invitees by property owners has been the subject of many legal cases. For example, in Rowland v. Christian (1968), the California Supreme Court held that the common law classifications of trespasser, licensee, and invitee were outdated and instead established a general duty of care for property owners to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition, regardless of the visitor's status. This approach has been adopted by many other states and is known as the "reasonable care" standard.
[Last updated in March of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]